A Short History of Heworth Grange
Ann Walker famously stayed at Heworth Grange in 1834 while under Dr Belcombe’s care just before and after sealing her union with Anne Lister.
Definitions of grange1:
- A repository for grain; a granary.
- An establishment where farming is carried on. Now, a country house with farm buildings attached,
usually the residence of a gentleman-farmer.
b. An outlying farm-house with barns, etc. belonging to a monastery or a feudal lord, for storing
tithes in kind etc.
- A country house.
The site of Heworth Grange house lies to the north of a road called Heworth Green, which itself lies to the west of the village of Heworth. Heworth village, now a suburb of York, is about a mile from York Minster: through Monk Bar and over the river Foss at Monk Bridge. Anne Lister could easily walk from the Belcombes’ or the Black Swan to Heworth Green in less than 25 minutes.
The village was settled during the Roman period, and Heworth Green may follow the path of a Roman road. Roman-era and medieval burial grounds have been discovered close the site of the Heworth Grange buildings; both are shown on the 1910 OS map:
The earliest reference to Heworth Grange I have found is a 1287 valuation2 of the land when it was owned by St. Leonards Hospital. St. Leonards was founded soon after the Norman Conquest and the ruins of some of its 12th century buildings still exist in the Museum Gardens in York. The estate of 118 acres was valued at £7 17s 2d.
St Leonards was a religious house, and as such all of its lands would have been confiscated during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s. At some point Heworth Grange was transferred to another hospital, the Hospital of the Savoy, which was situated on the Strand in London on the site now occupied by the Savoy Hotel. Founded by King Henry VII in 1505 and dissolved in 1553, the hospital of the Savoy was refounded and endowed by Queen Mary in 1556. It was dissolved again in 1702, at which time Heworth Grange was valued at £40.3 After this second dissolution the hospital’s lands were returned to the Crown; Heworth Grange remained Crown land until the current house was sold in 1928.4
“Heworth Grainge” was surveyed in 1680 by Robert Bewlay.5 Perhaps this Robert Bewlay was an ancestor of the “Mr Bewly” (also a Robert) who would be Ann Walker’s landlord 152 years later.
The total acreage in 1680 was 123¾ acres, or about 50 hectares (very similar to the 116 acres recorded in 1843), with a value of £150 5s 10d. The estate extended north from what is today’s Heworth Green, from Monk Bridge in the west (apart from a small parcel of “city land” adjacent to the bridge), with the western boundary following the river Foss. Today, Heworth Golf Club occupies parts of Stock and Yeoman Close. Stock Close included “5 acres dug for Bricks Tyles &c.“.
By the 19th century brick-making and pottery had increased at Heworth Grange. OS maps of the period show a clay pit (brick field) and several potteries, including Heworth Grange Pottery – while the potteries no longer exist, they are remembered today by Pottery Lane, which still runs north from Heworth Green.
Occupation in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries
The Dawson Family: 17th & 18th centuries:
Heworth Grange was in the hands of the Dawson family in the early 17th century, even before the hospital of the Savoy was dissolved, as can be seen from this report of the Court of Quarter Sessions held at Thirsk, Yorkshire on 14 April, 1607:6
And this 1715 Treasury Warrant Book entry records the demise of the property to William Dawson in 16797:
“Treasury warrant to the Clerk of the Pipe for a lease to William Dawson of the grange called Heworth Grange in Heworth, Co. Yorks, and the close called Grainge Field and one windmill in said close; heretofore in the tenure of Christopher Mather and now or late in that of William Dawson, deceased, and Elizabeth Dawson, his mother: all as demised 1679 July 10 by the Master and Perpetual Chaplains of the Hospital of the Savoy to the said William Dawson [deceased] and Henry Jaques of Elvington, Co. Yorks, for the lives of the said William Dawson [deceased], Robert Baines, eldest son of Adam Baines*, late of Holmeby, Co. Northampton, and Henry Langley of Lincolns Inn, Co. Middlesex, eldest son of Thomas Langley of the city of York.”
*Adam Baines was William Dawson’s brother-in-law.
A digression: In 1651 a William Dawson travelled to France under the guardianship of Martin Lister, a Gisburne Lister - from whom, according to Anne Lister's diary entry of 13 June 1816,8 the Shibden Listers were also descended.
In 1736 another William Dawson, presumably a descendant, was granted a 31-year lease on Heworth Grange, which was described as a “Parcell of the possessions of the Hospital of the Savoy lately dissolved“. Interestingly, this lease also refers back to previous tenants: “formerly in the Occupation of Christopher Mather or his assigns and afterwards in the Tenure or Occupation of William Dawson Deceased and Elizabeth Dawson his mother”
In 1786 William Dawson is recorded as the lessee of Heworth Grange9:
The last record I have found of a Dawson at Heworth Grange relates to a lease granted by the Crown from 1796 to 1812 on a “Grange or Farm, called Heworth Grange, situate in Heworth, near the City of York“, to “William Dawson Esq.“.10
The Bewlays and the Moisers: 19th & 20th centuries
By 1818 at the latest Heworth Grange is being occupied by Robert Bewlay. This is the “Mr Bewly” of both Ann Walker’s and Anne Lister’s diaries:
“drove to Mr Bewly’s out of Monk Bar to look at the lodgings – good homely property – sufficiently satisfied with them & the rooms […] Miss Walker well enough with the 3 rooms & people – terms 2 guineas a week”.11
Robert Bewlay (1772-1840) was the son of butcher Robert Bewlay Snr. (died 1780) who married Sarah Kirby on January 31 1772, less than six months before the birth of Robert Jnr.
In the 1818 & 1820 poll books he was listed as a “brick-maker”, but by 1832 he has been elevated to “gentleman”:12
Robert Bewlay Jr. married Mary Moiser (1770-1838) on July 6, 1801 – the “Mrs Bewly” of the diaries.
The Bewlays apparently had no children, and on Robert’s death in 1840 Heworth Grange passed to Mary’s nephew, Henry Moiser (1779-1885) of Huntington. Henry was married to Elizabeth Hodgson, and in the 1841 census they were recorded as living in “Heworth”. Their son Henry Richard was born at Heworth Grange on April 5, 1848, the family having secured the lease from the Crown in 184213:
Henry Richard Moiser grew up at Heworth Grange and attended school at Westow Hall in North Yorkshire. He married plumber’s daughter Ada Hodgson in 1875; in 1881 they were living at East Parade, Heworth, and by 1891 they were back at Heworth Grange, where Ada died in 1913. Henry Richard remained at Heworth Grange until at least 1928; he died at the Purey-Cust Nursing Home on May 5, 1928. The building is no longer a nursing home, but still exists, overlooking York Minster.
Shortly after Henry Richard Moiser’s death, the house known as Heworth Grange was sold by the Crown on 28 July 1928 to York auctioneer Arthur Lawson, for £1,925.4 Arthur Lawson was previously (1921 census) resident next door to Heworth Grange, in a house called Stannerton, originally New Villa. New Villa (demolished between 1938 & 1950) is remembered by Villa Grove, a residential road on the original site.
Arthur Lawson’s daughter Janet was a three-time Yorkshire Ladies Singles tennis champion (1929-31).
Heworth Grange today
According to a series of letters between Henry Moiser Sr. and the Crown Receiver’s office,14 the original farmhouse was demolished in 1861 and construction of a new house started the same year – this is the house that still stands today at 45 Heworth Green, and is now a doctor’s surgery. It’s situated at the corner of Hyrst Grove, a street of post-war houses that were built some time between 1958 and 1971.
The house is of typical mid-Victorian construction apart from the northern part, away from the main road, which is a much later addition. The porch at the front of the building also appears to have been added later. There is a royal cypher built into the brickwork at the front of the house dating the house and alluding to its ownership by the Crown Estate:
Heworth Grange in the 19th century
The buildings at Heworth Grange appear on all pre-1950 maps as a south-facing, roughly horseshoe-shaped cluster. The earliest detailed plan found is this 1825 plan of the estate,5 drawn up with the intention of selling plots for terraced houses (which were never built):
Heworth Grange was surveyed again in 1861,15 and shows the house largely unchanged:
From these surveys we see that the house seems to have changed little between 1825 and 1861: the 1825 plan almost certainly shows it much as it was when Ann was there in 1834.
This 1892 OS map (surveyed 1889) shows the current house, labelled “Heworth Grange“:
The building labelled “Heworth Grange” is in the same location as the present house, but the footprint is clearly different.
The buildings to the north and east (marked “X”) were demolished after 1950, possibly when Hyrst Grove was constructed in their place in the 1960s. The later addition to the northern end of the present house may have been constructed at the time of the demolition.
The railway line shown is the Foss Islands branch line which connected the York to Scarborough line to the Foss Islands area of York. The branch line was opened in 1879 and closed before 1963. It’s now a cycle path.
So, unfortunately, the present house was built after Ann’s stay but it’s easy to imagine her and Anne Lister sitting in that space looking out over the gardens.
- Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd. ed., 1973.
- Hospitals and Charitable Provision in Medieval Yorkshire, 936-1547. D.Phil. thesis, University of York. Patricia Cullum, 1989.
- Londinium Redivivum Or an Ancient History and Modern Description of London, Volume 3. James Peller Malcolm, 1803.
- Report of the Commissioners for the Year Ended 31st March 1928. The Crown Estate, 1931.
- A PLAN of an Estate called HEWORTH GRAINGE lying in the Parish of St. Olve without Monk Bar near the City of YORK belonging to the CROWN Surveyed in October 1780 by Robert Bewlay, National Archives, Kew, ref. MPE 1/1006.
- North Riding Records V. 1-9, 1883-92; N. S. V. 1-4, 1894-97 Volume 1, North Riding record society, London, 1884.
- Calendar of Treasury Books Preserved in the Public Record Office Volume 29, Issue 2, Page 729. Public Record Office, 1957.
- West Yorkshire Archives ref. SH:7/ML/B/2.
- Old Yorkshire, Volume 1. Edited by William Smith F.S.A.S., 1889.
- Journals of the House of Commons, Volume 42, 1803.
- Anne Lister’s journal, 14 February 1834. West Yorkshire Archives ref. SH:7/ML/E/16/0158.
- The Poll for Members in Parliament to Represent the City of York, 1832.
- Parliamentary Papers, Volume 31, 1844.
- The National Archives, Kew, ref. CRES 2/1397.
- PLAN of Heworth Grange Estate in the Parish of St. Olaves Without Monk Bar in the North Riding of the County of York Belonging to the Crown By Thos. Holliday 1861 National Archives, Kew, ref. MPE 1/1577.
Ancestry UK: Census records, etc. – https://www.ancestry.co.uk (paid subscription).
Anne Lister diary transcriptions by Martin Walker.
Edited by Diane Halford.
In Search of Ann Walker’s research into Ann’s life is ongoing, therefore new discoveries may change the way we chronicle her life in the future.
How to cite this article:
Martin Walker (2023) “A Short History of Heworth Grange”: In Search of Ann Walker [Accessed “add date”]